National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo say former Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng served the country in an outstanding and remarkable way.
Mapisa-Nqakula and Masondo have paid tribute to Mogoeng on behalf of all the Presiding Officers of Parliament.
In a statement, the Presiding Officers say, “We applaud the exceptional contribution that Chief Justice Mogoeng made to the country’s constitutional democracy by strengthening the role of the Constitutional Court during his tenure. He worked very hard to ensure that the administration of justice was bolstered through the Apex Court. He worked tirelessly to ensure that the independence of the judiciary is not compromised and that the doctrine of separation of powers is strengthened. We salute him for remaining faithful to this country, both in word and in deed even under trying circumstances in the evolution of our constitutional democracy, and for upholding and protecting the constitution and the human rights entrenched in it, and for fulfilling his responsibilities without fear, favour or prejudice.”
The statement goes further to praise Mogoeng for embodying “exemplary leadership.”
“This moment calls on all of us to remind ourselves about the critical role of the judiciary as a pillar of our constitutional order. Justice Mogoeng embodies exemplary leadership and we are convinced that he leaves behind a stronger Constitutional Court.”
Mogoeng’s last day as Chief Justice:
Mogoeng did not only retire as Chief Justice on Monday but his 12-year non-renewable term as a Constitutional Court Justice also came to an end. He was appointed as a Constitutional Court Justice in 2009.
Two years later, he was nominated by former President Jacob Zuma for the position of Chief Justice. He became the first nominee for the position of Chief Justice to be interviewed live on television in a two-day marathon interview that was conducted by the Judicial Service Commission in Cape Town in 2011. He was officially appointed Chief Justice on the 8th of September by President Jacob Zuma following a recommendation by the JSC.
Three years later in 2014, Mogoeng presided over the swearing-in ceremony of members of the National Assembly and the NCOP following the outcome of the general elections.
In the National Assembly, he also presided over the election of the president. ANC Member of Parliament Zuma was the sole nominee and was elected unopposed.
It was in the same year when the Economic Freedom Fighters had 25 seats in the Assembly after winning 6% of the national votes.
During the election of the President, Mogoeng asked whether there were any other nominations, laughing and looking in the direction of the EFF benches following the swearing-in of all members of the Assembly.
“Are there any other nominations? Hahahaha, it looks like the honourable (Julius) Malema is signaling his availability, hahahaha,” chuckled Mogoeng.
He declared Zuma duly elected president and later inaugurated him as president of the country.
In March 2016, Mogoeng delivered a scathing unanimous judgment against the National Assembly, its members and Zuma following a successful court challenge.
The EFF, as the first applicant, was granted direct access to the ConCourt to force Zuma to honour the remedial action that was prescribed by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela in her Nkandla report.
Madonsela had investigated the multi-million rands security upgrades at Zuma’s Nkandla residence.
The DA was also granted direct access to join the EFF court bid.
In his judgment, Mogoeng said, “There was everything wrong with the National Assembly stepping in the shoes of the Public Protector bypassing a resolution made and remedial action taken by the Public Protector and replacing them with its own findings and remedial action in quotes. This, the rule of law is dead against.”
The court further set aside the Ad-hoc Committee’s Nkandla report which was approved by the National Assembly in 2014. The report exonerated Zuma from any wrongdoing.
In 2017, Mogoeng also delivered a judgment that former National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete had the discretionary powers to allow the use of a secret ballot when voting is conducted after a Motion of No Confidence in a President is debated.
The court bid was led by the United Democratic Movement after Mbete had refused to approve a request by the UDM to allow the use of a secret ballot during the voting process. This came after a No-Confidence Motion was brought against Zuma.
Mbete had argued that the constitution and the National Assembly Rules did not give her the power to allow the use of a secret during the voting process.
The secret ballot court challenge was first pursued by former Agang Parliamentary Leader Andries Tlouamma who lost the court bid in the Western Cape High Court in 2015. However, the ConCourt overturned the High Court decision in the process.
In his judgment on the secret ballot, Mogoeng highlighted the importance of the Speaker to be rational when taking decisions on the use of a secret ballot using her discretionary powers.
“Parliament’s efficacy in its constitutional oversight of the executive vitally depends on the Speaker’s proper exercise of this enormous responsibility. The Speaker must thus ensure that his or her decision strengthens that particular tenet of our democracy and does not undermine it. There must always be a proper and rational basis for whatever choice the Speaker makes in the exercise of the constitutional power to determine the voting procedure. Due regard must always be heard to the real possibilities of corruption as well as the prevailing circumstances and whether they allow members to exercise their vote in a manner that does not expose them to illegitimate hardships. Whether the prevailing atmosphere is generally peaceful or toxified and highly charged, is one of the important aspects of that decision-making process.”
The judgment led to the review of some of the clauses in the National Assembly rules dealing with the Vote of No Confidence in a president.
Mogoeng’s last annual public appearance in Parliament was during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation in February this year.
Chief Justice Mogoeng’s tenure under the spotlight as he bows out: